Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House amended (08/06/1998)


Title I: Predisaster Hazard Mitigation

Title II: Streamlining and Cost Reduction

Title III: Miscellaneous

Disaster Mitigation Act of 1998 - Title I: Predisaster Hazard Mitigation - Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Act) to require a State, in submitting a disaster preparedness and prevention program plan prior to receiving assistance under such Act, to set forth a comprehensive and detailed State program for mitigating against emergencies and major disasters, including provisions for prioritizing mitigation measures.

(Sec. 103) Authorizes the President to make grants for the costs of the development and application of floodplain mapping technologies that can be used by Federal, State, and local governments and that will likely result in substantial savings over current floodplain mapping methods.

(Sec. 104) Authorizes the President to establish a program to provide financial assistance to States and local governments for undertaking predisaster hazard mitigation activities that are cost effective and substantially reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, or suffering from a major disaster. Provides, with respect to such assistance program, for: (1) minimum and maximum per-State allocation of funds; (2) criteria for granting such assistance and determining appropriate amounts; (3) State Governor recommendations of no less than five local governments to receive such assistance; (4) a requirement that at least ten percent of the amount provided in a fiscal year be furnished for activities in communities of 3,000 or fewer individuals that are economically disadvantaged; (5) a Federal cost-share limit (with a higher authorized Federal share for mitigation activities in small impoverished communities); (6) an authorization of appropriations for FY 1998 through 2000; and (7) a report from the President to the Congress evaluating implementation efforts and on a process for transferring to capable States greater responsibility for administering the program.

(Sec. 105) Directs the President to establish an interagency task force to coordinate the implementation of the predisaster hazard mitigation program authorized under the Act.

(Sec. 106) Increases from 15 to 20 percent the maximum contribution for hazard mitigation costs with respect to a major disaster declared after January 1, 1997.

Title II: Streamlining and Cost Reduction - Directs the President to: (1) establish management cost rates for disaster preparedness and mitigation assistance grantees and subgrantees; and (2) review such rates at least every three years.

(Sec. 202) Authorizes the President to make contributions to a private nonprofit facility for the repair, restoration, or replacement of such facility which is damaged or destroyed by a major disaster only if its owner or operator has applied for a disaster loan under the Small Business Act and has been determined to be ineligible for such loan. Limits the Federal share of assistance provided to 75 percent of the eligible costs of the repair, restoration, or replacement of damaged public and private facilities. Allows a State, local government, or private nonprofit facility, in lieu of repairing, restoring, or replacing such damaged facilities, to receive the Federal cost share limit and repair other facilities or construct new facilities. Authorizes the President to modify the Federal cost share if such modification is likely to reduce the total amount of assistance provided. Provides for the determination of eligible costs and the modification of such costs. Requires the President to establish an expert panel for the determination of such costs.

(Sec. 203) Authorizes the President to provide financial assistance and, if necessary, direct services to disaster victims who, as a direct result of a major disaster, have necessary expenses and serious needs and are unable to meet such expenses or needs through other means. Authorizes the President to provide housing assistance to those who are displaced or whose residence is rendered uninhabitable as a result of such disaster. Includes as appropriate direct assistance the provision of other housing units. Limits the use of such units to 18 months, but allows the President to extend such period under extraordinary circumstances. Allows such assistance to include the repair or replacement of the original residence or permanent new housing construction in limited circumstances. Authorizes the provision of assistance for medical, dental, or funeral expenses and personal property, transportation, and other expenses. Limits to $25,000 the individual or household assistance amount.

(Sec. 204) Repeals a provision of the Act authorizing the President to make community disaster loans following major disasters.

(Sec. 205) Authorizes a State desiring to administer its own hazard mitigation assistance program to submit for the President's approval an application for the delegation of such authority, under specified criteria.

(Sec. 206) Directs the President to conduct and report to the Congress on a pilot program to determine the desirability of State administration of parts of the disaster mitigation assistance program established under the Act.

(Sec. 207) Directs the Comptroller General to conduct studies to: (1) estimate the reduction in Federal disaster assistance that has resulted and is likely to result from the enactment of this Act; and (2) determine the current and future expected availability of disaster insurance for public infrastructure eligible for assistance under the Act.

Title III: Miscellaneous - Makes a technical correction to the short title of the Act.

(Sec. 302) Excludes the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from the definition of a State for purposes of the Act.